One of the most common problems homeowners face with their air conditioning systems is sudden and seemingly inexplicable leaking. A/C window units tend to leak small amounts of water, which is normal, but when a central air conditioner begins to leak large amounts of water all over your floor, it is probably time to call up a technician.
There are a number of reasons that can cause an air conditioning system to leak water. Some are easily fixed, others are more complicated and some water draining out is actually a normal part of operation. The trick is knowing what is normal and what is an indication of a bigger problem.
During normal operation, your air conditioning system will be removing moisture from the air inside the home. This moisture will condense on the A/C coils and then drain down and exit through a drain hole at the bottom of the machine. Some A/C window units have a groove in the base pan that leads the water outside rather than a drain hole. Either way, there is always a means for water to drain out of the machine.
If you see a small amount of water coming out of a pipe leading from your air conditioner when it is on, this is probably normal condensation and is nothing to worry about. If the water is coming out from somewhere other than the drain, or if it is excessive, then there is a problem. Regardless of whether you hire an A/C company or choose to fix the leaking yourself, running your A/C system while it is leaking water will only worsen the problem and reduce the efficiency and lifetime of your central air system.
Causes of Air Conditioning Leaks
One reason for water not making it to the drain and flowing into the room instead is the installation of the A/C. An A/C must be tilted slightly backwards toward the outside, so that water will flow toward the drain. If it is installed incorrectly and tilts inward or is level, water may drip into the room. If your A/C is tilting inward, call a repair person and have it reinstalled correctly.
Algae and other material can accumulate in the pan and clog the drain. A clogged drain is often the reason for an A/C leaking. The drain can usually be cleaned out by flushing with water or vacuuming, but making sure the power is off at the breaker is extremely important for avoiding dangerous accidents while cleaning an A/C drain.
When your air conditioner is running constantly (or in rare cases when the outside temperature in Florida gets below 60º Fahrenheit), ice can form on the coils and then melt causing water leakage. Turning off the A/C every couple of days to allow your system to is the best solution for avoiding this problem.
Why Window Units Tend to Leak Water
Another installation factor that can affect water leaking from an A/C is not having a good seal around the unit where it goes through the wall. If warm air leaks around the machine and then meets cooler air inside the house, condensation can happen in the wrong place causing leakage into the house, or outside along the wall. Installing a foam sealer around the unit and creating a tight seal will solve this problem.
How to Fix an A/C Leak
Fixing a leaking air conditioner is simple, but a tad time-consuming for the motivated do-it-yourselfer. The video below briefly explains what to look for when checking your A/C for possible leaks and causes:
Having your A/C serviced regularly by a professional is one way of preventing water leakage problems in the first place, but chances are, you’re reading this article after the fact. Our A/C techs offer same-day service call for A/C repairs in Broward and Palm Beach county. Need service now? Give us a ring at (561) 404-0340.